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12 members of family displaced by fire

NEW HAMPTON — Twelve people including seven children between the ages of 1 and 12 were left temporarily homeless Monday after a chimney fire extended into their home at 115 Kelly Pond Road.

Fire Chief Mike Drake said the call initially came from a third party just after 4 p.m. He said he and the police were the first to arrive and he called for a first alarm bringing in help from neighboring communities.

Drake said the fire started in the chimney but had extended into the ceiling and walls. He said the house appeared to have been built in the 1970s but has had extensive renovations and additions, making the fire tough to extinguish.

He said one member of the family was taken by ambulance to the hospital for evaluation.

Drake said the interior of the house suffered a lot of smoke and water damage and it appears most of the family's possessions, including Christmas presents for the children, were destroyed.

He said the police and firefighters were able to save the family's cat.

The family is being assisted by the American Red Cross who determined the families immediate needs so they could provide lodging and financial assistance for food and clothing.

To make a donation to the Red Cross to help this family and others who a victims of disasters, please visit redcross.org/nh or connect using Facebook.com/nhredcross.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:36

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Heroin overdose thought to be reason for death at local hotel

LACONIA — Police Chief Christopher Adams confirmed Tuesday that there were one fatal and two non-fatal heroin overdoses in the city over the weekend.

The fatal overdose occurred in the Landmark Inn, on the 4th floor. Adams said a second person in the room called for help after both men present had used what police believe to be heroin, fentanyl or some combination of the two.

A 37-year year old man died, however Adams said the firefighters were able to save the man who made the phone call.

Adams said identification of the dead man is being held pending notification of his family.

He said police were able to recover some evidence from the scene and a criminal investigation is ongoing.

Adams did not have the details for the second non-fatal overdose saying only that the victim did survive and police are investigating.

"The warning is the same as it always is," Adams said, referring to what some have called a heroin epidemic in the state. "Don't risk it. It could be fatal."

He said that anyone who wants help or who has information should call 211 or call Officer Eric Adams of the Laconia Police at 524-5252.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:31

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Attorney says no new evidence to charge Clairmont with 7 additional counts of arson in Laconia

LACONIA — The probable cause hearing for convicted arsonist Jason Clairmont was postponed yesterday because his defense lawyer had just gotten a transcript of a police interview and needed more time to review it.

Clairmont, 34, formerly of Gilmanton, was charged last month with setting seven fires within the city of Laconia — including one of the two fires at Pitman's Freight Room — a local night club and meeting facility.

In February of 2014, Clairmont pleaded guilty to three other counts of arson and was sentenced to serve one to five years in the N.H. State Prison. Laconia Police brought forward seven additional arson charges on November 14 — one day before Clairmont was scheduled to begin his parole process.

Police believe Clairmont is responsible for a string of arson fires between September of 2013 and January of 2014, including one of the two fires at Pitman's on New Salem Street. Although Clairmont was officially living in Gilmanton at the time of the suspicious fires, his family home is also on New Salem Street.

Of the seven additional charges faced by Clairmont, Judge Jim Carroll determined there was no probable cause for three of them on November 18, the day of his arraignment.

Yesterday's probable cause hearing was for the four remaining new charges.

Attorney John Bresaw has argued that there is no new evidence against Clairmont and that all of the evidence against him was from a single 5-hour interview conducted by a Laconia Police detective in the days after a January 25, 2014 car fire on Bowman Street and a lattice fire on Highland Street.

Clairmont pleaded guilty to those two fires plus an additional car fire that occurred outside the Funky Monkey night club on Main Street in September of 2013.

Bresaw argued last month that if his client were to be charged with any additional crimes, he should have been charged after the interview and not months later.
Laconia Prosecutor Jim Sawyer argued that police charged Clairmont with the three fires they knew they could prove at the time so they could get him off the streets. He said the investigations into the other fires during that time has been ongoing and now police are ready bring forward more charges.

Yesterday's probable cause hearing was not a trial but rather a way to get the state to submit some of its case before the trial. From that evidence, Carroll is to determine if there is enough evidence to bind the cases over to Superior Court.

Bresaw said yesterday that he had just received the complete transcript of one of Clairmont's interviews from Sawyer minutes before the hearing and needed time to review it.

Sawyer didn't object and the probable cause hearing will be held in early January.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 01:45

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Weare construction company awarded bid to construct new Gilford Police HQ for $1.2 million

GILFORD — Selectmen awarded the bid to expand and renovate the Police Station at Town Hall to Chicoine Construction of Weare yesterday but not before learning some things will have to be eliminated, including a clerk of the works.

The town appropriated $1,213 million for the project and was able to secure an additional $169,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a total of $1,239,077.

To date, the town has spent $143,347 on design and dispatch services which leaves a balance of $1,239,000 to be awarded for building construction.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said Chicoine recently built a police station in Hampstead and built the Moultonborough Public Safety Complex and he got good reports from both town administrators. Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said he spoke with the Hampstead Police chief, who said the company was very good to work with.

Chicoine came in with an initial bid of $1.365 million meaning the town had to negotiate $126,000 worth of changes to come in at the bid price.

This year the Police Department is projected to run a surplus of $92,000 so selectmen voted to use $78,424 of that for the project.

In lieu of a clerk-of-the-works, selectmen decided to have the construction company meet weekly with Bean Burpee and the other town officials who will oversee the project.

Bean Burpee expressed initial trepidation about not having a clerk because he said he doesn't know much about construction, but Dunn said that the town just couldn't afford to have one.

Bean Burpee also said he didn't think that $92,000 would be enough to install two new dispatch consoles. The Homeland Security grant pays for one of them but Bean Burpee said he would like to see two working consoles for the department.

He said last night that the current dispatch console is antiquated and he doubts it can be used with the new state-of-the-art console in the bid. "We can use some old equipment for a while," he said.

Dunn said he is also "absolutely depending" on Chicoine to identify cost savings as the project progresses in hopes that some of the things that were eliminated (most of them materials changes) could be done as the architect initially planned.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 01:36

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